72% of Americans follow local news closely [STUDY]

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Overview

Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want. This is especially true of local news followers age 40 and older, who differ from younger local news enthusiasts in some key ways.

One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them. In contrast, just 19% of adults who do not follow local news closely say they would feel a major impact and fully half (51%) say they would feel no impact at all from the loss of their local paper. Only 34% of local news enthusiasts feel this way.

These are among the main findings in a nationally-representative phone survey of 2,251 adults by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Read more …

About the Survey

The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 12 to 25, 2011, among a sample of 2,251 adults, age 18 and older.  Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,501) and cell phone (750, including 332 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.  For results based Internet users (n=1,762), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

SOURCE Pew Internet and American Life Project